Style nationalism in stark contrast with Paris forum call for global cooperation

Clay Curtis
November 13, 2018

A little woman like me shaking hands with the President of the Republic.

Earlier, in one of the day's high points, Macron and Merkel unveiled a plaque to Franco-German reconciliation in a forest clearing in northeast France where the armistice ending WWI was signed.

For a fraction of a second, Merkel looked non-plussed, before she quickly smiled and replied in German: "I am the German chancellor", which was translated to the woman.

The two leaders appeared to make up as the weekend began.

Macron's actual spouse, 65-year-old Brigitte Marie-Claude Trogneux, is a year older than Merkel, who is 64. The White House has also been cool about bringing the two leaders together amid the political pressure in Washington over alleged Russian meddling in US elections. He made a subtle reference to a well-known 1927 French book that decried the elites at the time, who embraced reactionary, nationalistic ideologies at the expense of a rational consensus.

The earlier show of unity at the Arc de Triomphe comes at a time of growing tensions between liberals and populists in the European Union, as well as between Europe and the U.S., two years into Trump's "America First" presidency.

Beset by criticism from political commentators and social media users who watched the old Trudeau video that Trump had shrunk from honouring soldiers who fought and died in inordinately worse conditions, the White House elaborated on Trump's rationale on Sunday by stating the president hadn't wanted to inhibit road traffic in Paris by hastily arranging for a motorcade to drive him to the cemetery.

Last month Trump sparked concerns globally when he said he would ditch the INF pact, as Putin warned that abandoning the treaty would unleash a new arms race and put Europe in danger.

"The aim of the forum is to show that there are lots of forces in the worldwide system - states, NGOs, foundations, intellectuals, companies - who believe we need a world of rules, an open world and a multilateral world", chief organiser Justin Vaisse told AFP.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier became the first German leader to take part in the service, which was also attended by Prime Minister Theresa May.

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Trump did not hear her comments.

On a weekend meant to commemorate world war veterans, U.S. President Donald Trump's moniker as a self-declared nationalist garnered global attention on the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

Speaking in French, Macron emphasised that a global order based on liberal values is worth defending against those who have sought to disrupt that system. Trump tweeted minutes after his plane touched down in France.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu waves as he arrives at the Elysee Palace after the commemoration ceremony for Armistice Day, 100 years after the end of World War One, in Paris, France on November 11.

Neither he nor Russian President Vladimir Putin joined other leaders in a symbolic walk up the Champs-Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

He did not provide further details, but the French presidency said the pair had a wide-ranging discussion during lunch after the commemoration.

On Monday, however, Trump released a tirade of tweets criticizing what he felt were European nations taking advantage of USA military superiority at an unfair price.

The president also recognized six veterans of World War II who were in attendance. Never easy bringing up the fact that the US must be treated fairly, which it hasn't, on both Military and Trade.

Guterres championed the cause of United Nations in his speech, saying today it is home to the center that harmonizes efforts towards peace and sustainable development. We got news of the armistice at 9.30 this morning... He is scheduled to depart for the United States after that.

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